The CLA and Strutt and Parker recently published a survey of 198 landowner/managers. There were encouraging signs that resonate with BioCap direct experience of working with landowners. 56% of respondents are working on plans to reduce their carbon footprint. 80% stated that they are likely or very likely to take action to improve soils quality and increase biodiversity. The Gov's Sustainable Farming Initiative did not fair that well in the survey with many waiting for further clarifications before making decisions on whether to participate.
Over half of the landowners surveryed remaining focused on increasing profitibaility from core agricultural enterprise but this was not the sole focus as 42% also said that they were planning to increase land use in environmental schemes. It is reassuring to see that all but 5% of those surveyed have no intention of leaving farming and are eager to resurect their land to the benefit of agriculture and biodiversity.
If we look at a very high level and rather crudely use the survey results to look at West Berkshire we might conclude that approximately 3-4% of farm land might be taken permanently out of agricultural production and used to enhance biodiversity and other Natural Capital. BioCap and our Natural Solutions Partnership would be keen to work with those landowners considering this change. We need to link this desire for change to those purchasing the Natural Capital and ensure that balanced well thought through projects are developed and implemented.
CLA survey analysis can be found here - https://www.cla.org.uk/news/preparing-for-agricultural-change/